The total insanity of the breakdown in talks between World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority of NY and NJ gets the workup today. Basically, NY State is saying Silverstein better build or they'll take him out. Not just remarks from Governor Pataki saying that Silverstein "betrayed" New Yorkers, just also this one from Port Authority vice chairman Charles Gargano:
"We fully expect Larry to begin construction on the Freedom Tower in April. This is a commitment he made to the public and to the Port Authority and we expect him to fulfill that commitment. And if he does not, then we want him to move out of the way."
Now Gothamist has images of Silverstein being physically hauled away from Ground Zero - will he chain himself to the fencing? Anyway, Silverstein claims that internal strife at the Port Authority helped doom the talks. And the Post's Steve Cuozzo says that Osama "must be laughing in his cave" over this tomfoolery and wonders why it took so long for people to question whether Silverstein had even dough for the project - good point! (Cuozzo also criticizes the PA and governor for claiming Silverstein was extorting them - Silverstein was just being a businessman - an untelegenic one, but a businessman.) The Daily News says that Silverstein needs to come around, while faulting NY State for how they handled the situation.
This whole matter demonstrates that no matter how many photo ops and press conferences where everyone is smiley, everything is still a freaking mess. Of course, the whole WTC debacle is bad news for Governor Pataki, with his eyes on a presidential run. We wonder if this matter will get pushed into the courts - and who will ultimately gain control of the project (the city? the state?). Gothamist on Mayor Bloomberg's Ground Zero ideas and Pataki's concerns.